Hat-trick for Jijo Joseph as Kerala rout Rajasthan in 75th Santosh Trophy

Powered by captain Jijo Joseph’s majestic hat-trick, Kerala stamped their credentials among the contenders for the 75th Hero Santosh Trophy, beating Rajasthan 5-0 in Group A. 

Roared on by a capacity crowd at the Manjeri Payyanad stadium, the hosts started proceedings at a frenetic pace, attacking with verve right from the start and not allowing Rajasthan to settle into the game. Kerala scored inside the first 10 minutes via a majestic strike. In the sixth minute, Kerala won a free-kick just outside the box. Captain Jijo Joseph took charge of proceedings, lining the ball up, before curling it into the top right, just beyond the reach of Maninder Singh in Rajasthan’s goal.

The goal gave Kerala more confidence and coach Bino George urged his team to move forward and try and score more, to put the game beyond any doubt. Three minutes after taking the lead, they came close again, Muhammed Saheef’s cross headed over by M Viknesh.

Kerala attacked collectively and consecutively, responding not just to the crowd but also to the depth of talent in their squad, and with better finishing could have put the game to bed within the first half hour. Viknesh, Arjun Jayaraj and Muhammed Safnad all had shots at goal, and in most cases, Maninder was drawn into a save, forced to keep his team in the game. Kerala’s captain Jijo Joseph was majestic in midfield, pulling the strings and creating opportunities every time he had the ball in space, but somehow Rajasthan kept them at bay.

In the 30th minute, Rajasthan may as well have had an equaliser too. Some lacklustre defending by Kerala resulted in the ball falling to Youraj Singh but he he blazed wide with just the goalkeeper to beat.

The miss was a wake up call for Kerala, a clear signal that one goal wouldn’t do. Soon they had more. In the 38th minute, Nijo Gilbert drove the ball into space on the left of the box, before unleashing a superb shot into the far corner to double the hosts’ lead going into the break.

Kerala kept the momentum up in the second half, holding majority of the possession and continuously peppering the Rajasthan goal with shots. Jijo Joseph was constantly a menace, and three minutes either side of the hour-mark completed his hat trick. His second goal came in the 57th minute, Muhammed Saheef’s brilliant through ball putting him through one-on-one with the goalkeeper and Joseph did not miss.

In the 62nd minute, after some brilliant play on the flank, Soyal Joshy crossed the ball in from the right and Joseph glanced it in to put his team four up and enjoy the applause of the crowd. Ajay Alex’s 81st minute goal was the icing on the cake as Kerala took all three points and their captain, the match ball.

Credits: AIFF Media

For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai Football

Also Read: Odisha Sports come back from behind to beat ARA FC

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all the latest happenings in the world of Indian football

Opportunity to make the team: U.K.M. Kothrud FC conducts selection trials for girls team

Pune-based U.K.M. Kothrud FC has announced that they will be conducting selection trials for their girl’s team on 15th January 2023 The club welcomes all players to come and showcase…


The Sunday Football League Season 4 is back

The Sunday Football League is back with its fourth season, and it’s shaping up to be the best one yet. With eight talented teams competing at the Kes Kandivali turf, there…


BFC Soccer Schools Elite team trials in Feb

Bengaluru FC launched their Mumbai program last season with the Soccer Schools and Elite programs with its local partner Soccer Schools of Excellence (SSE).  Bengaluru Football Club is a professional club…


India Khelo Football Season 2 Trials in Mumbai: A Chance to Kickstart Your Football Career

After conducting trials in 34 cities & villages across India, India Khelo Football is coming to Mumbai to hunt talent on 7th January. India Khelo Football kickstarted its season 2…


Mumbai Customs to conduct trials for Elite League

Former champions Mumbai Customs will be holding open trials for the upcoming MFA Elite Corporate League (Elite Division) The 2019 MFA Elite Division champions Mumbai Customs are conducting open trials…


Sunday Boys to hold trials for MFA 1st Division

MFA 1st division side Sunday Boys FC will be conducting trials in the first week of November for the upcoming football season Sunday Boys Football Club was established in the…


Millat FC to hold trials for MFA Elite Premier League

Millat FC – a club plying their trade in MFA Elite Division will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2022-23 season Last season Millat had a decent run in…


MFA Elite Division club KSA to conduct trials for the upcoming season

Karnataka Sporting Association (KSA) – a club plying their trade in MFA Elite Division will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2022-23 season Last season KSA had an amazing…


Young Guns Football Acadmey to conduct trials for their upcoming MFA 3rd Division Campaign

MFA 3rd Division club Young Guns Football Academy will be conducting open trials on October 9th for their upcoming season in Mumbai Football Young Guns Football Academy was founded in…


OSCAR SSE to conduct trials for Youth I League and YPL team in the U13 category in Mumbai

Mumbai-based OSCAR SSE will conduct trials for their Youth I League and YPL team on 16th and 17th July 2022 at Wings Sports Centre ground. Oscar SSE is a 2-star…